Accessible Voting

ARB Marking System FAQs

What is an Accessible Remote Ballot (ARB) Marking System?

The Accessible Remote Ballot (ARB) is an electronic ballot marking system that allows voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently. It is compatible with all major screen readers (JAWS, etc.), tactile switches, closed captioning, and audio-enabled systems, and is fully compliant with ADA and HAVA requirements.

The ARB is not an online voting system, and voted ballots CANNOT be returned to the Board via email. Voted ballots must be printed, placed in the included postage prepaid envelope, and either mailed to the Board or dropped off at a Mail Ballot Drop Box or at a Vote Center during Early Voting or on Election Day. A voter verified paper ballot is always available for a post-election audit or recount if necessary. 

How does the ARB work?

Voters must request to use the ARB Marking System by submitting the ARB Marking System Request Form. Once the Board receives the voter’s request, the Board emails the voter a link to log into the ARB online portal using any smart device or computer. The voter will then access and mark their ballot using the ARB online portal.

Next, the voter will print the voted ballot and return it to the Board via mail, or by returning it to any Mail Ballot Drop Box or Vote Center location during Early Voting or on Election Day. If the voter receives assistance to mark their ballot, they must also complete and submit a Signature Attestation Form with their voted ballot.

Do all voters with disabilities have to vote using the ARB?

No. Voters with disabilities can choose to vote using the traditional mail-in ballot or in-person at any Early Vote Center or Election Day Vote Center.

Do I need to have access to a smart device and printer to use the ARB?

Yes. You will need access to a smart device (computer, laptop, tablet, etc.) to mark your ballot. You will also need access to a printer, as the voted ballot must be printed and returned to the Board. Voted ballots cannot be returned to the Board via email.

If I use the ARB Marking System, can I use an electronic signature to sign my voted ballot? If so, what happens if my signature on the voted ballot does not match my signature in the Board's voter registration system?

Voters using the ARB Marking System may sign their voted ballot with an electronic signature. Should the signature not match the signature on file with the Board, the Registrar of Voters will send the voter information about how to “cure” their ballot to ensure that it is counted. 

Do I have to pay to use the ARB or for postage?

The Board will be mailing every active registered voter in the District of Columbia a mail-in ballot package ahead of the election, which will include a postage-prepaid return ballot envelope. Voters using the ARB will use this envelope to return their voted ballot.